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Beyond Brexit: 2022 Will Be Too Late To Start Looking Ahead Of Leaving The EU

24/04/2017 12:45 BST | Updated 24/04/2017 12:45 BST
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This is election may be for 'Brexit purposes', but it's about so much more.

In 2020, we would have had the opportunity to set out what a post-Brexit society would look like; the UK's negotiations with EU are projected to finish in 2019, which would have provided limited time for damage between the our formal Brexit and the general election. This has all changed now due to the snap election - by 2022, this grace period will have extended by up to three years. During this time, our fundamental rights could be stripped away from us, and our society could be irreparably damaged.

Amongst the left, it's been clear that fighting for the post-Brexit rights of British people, and the EU citizens who call the UK home, is of paramount importance. Now is our chance to do that, and perhaps the last opportunity we'll have to do it before it's too late. In five years' time, three of which could see our government potentially unguarded by Europe, the Human Rights Act, our NHS, the education system and our environment could be dismantled. Higher education needs to be protected - not as an 'Old boys' club, but as a tool for learning, diversity, and increased innovation. Universities allow us understanding of the world around us, and how good it can potentially be - and key to this is international collaboration rather than nationalist isolation.

It's almost redundant to reiterate how wrong political polls have been over the past three years, and this is in part due to our FPTP voting system. Although this snap election has been cited a Tory masterstroke by some, nothing is set in stone this time round. It's an over-confident move by May to strike while her party is polling so highly, and assume a larger majority result is a given.

No one's forgotten that the Conservatives have been fined £70,000 over their last election expenses and are still being scrutinised, have plunged the NHS further into crisis to the point that GPs are being told to avoid referring patients on to hospitals if at all possible, and denied schools the necessary real-world funding they need, pushing them to drastic measures such as asking parents for spare change and proposing teaching cuts while harping on about Grammars instead. And that's just March alone.

There are many amongst the left-leaning population who are concerned about who to vote for. They disagree with Corbyn's leadership, or they feel uneasy about Farron's unwillingness to accept homosexuality or abortion. The Liberal Democrats cannot win this election. They can only slide back into a submissive positive in coalition with the Conservatives - a prospect that they have refused to rule out.

However, if we get caught up in the arguments surrounding the Labour leadership, we fail those of us who can't wait another five years for a pay rise, for tax credits, for NHS care, for Personal Independence payments. Proclaiming Corbyn 'unelectable' is an arrogant position to take, and quite distracts from the reality that a Tory government is shortening the lives of our most vulnerable. The NHS particularly cannot afford five years of neglect and exploitation, leading to the justification of privatisation by the Conservative government. We've watched them do it to the Post Office - the Tories have proved that they cannot be trusted with beloved British institutions, and are happy to sell them off cheaply to make a quick penny. We cannot let this happen to the health care system which has kept us all safe for the last 69 years. We cannot abandon the schools which have raised us, our parents, our children, our employees and our friends.

Let's make sure that the NHS reaches its 70th birthday intact. Let's register to vote, let's campaign, let's elect a government that represents us. Any opportunity for the UK population to have its say on who we want in Westminster has to be taken as a positive, and this is a chance not only to consider the kind of Brexit we want, but the country we will be afterwards.